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Local dealers speculate on reasons for increase in gun sales

By Glenn Evans
March 8, 2012 at 11 p.m.

Gun buyers are fired up these days, and whether it's because they fear the Mayan calendar or President Barack Obama is anybody's guess.

They're mentioning both in Longview, gun dealers reporting a local rise in sales say. In the same breath, dealers also observe it's tax refund season.

"And I think part of that is the economy is stable," George's Pawn Shop owner Jordan Osborne added. "We're not in good shape, but it's still better than it was a year ago. I think people are more comfortable spending their money this year than last year. We're seeing that in all areas of our business."

Osborne recalled gun sales rising at his High Street business the first years after Obama took office, as speculation abounded among some media commentators that the president was coming for their weapons.

If a second verse to the same song is being written, this one unfettered by re-election concerns in a second Obama term, Osborne said it will become clear later.

"What will really be the tale of the tape will be in a couple of months, which normally is our slow time," Osborne said. "If that part of the year for us is busier than normal, that will tell me, yeah, people are worried about the election."

Something might be up nationwide.

The FBI reports a 25 percent increase in weapons background checks requested from Texas the first two months this year compared with January and February 2011. Those totals were 181,876 during that span a year ago and 226,965 this year.

"More people are coming in looking to spend more money on guns," said The Gun Doctor & More sales clerk Adam Jaramillo. "Really, last month was a lot better. We're not far into this month, but we're seeing a lot of customers. Most are browsing, but a few are buying."

Jaramillo said he wasn't at the Glencrest Lane gun store when the president last shot gun sales through the roof. But he knows why a poster of the president hangs in the office declaring Obama the gun salesman of the year.

"When he's up (for election), we see more gun sales," he said.

Gun lovers, it turned out, were frightened by phantoms the last time they thought Obama would assault the Second Amendment. The only gun law that changed was related to the Mexican drug cartels, said J&J Firearms co-owner Jacob Palmer.

"Now, if you buy more than two pistols within five working days, you have to fill out a special form," Palmer said, adding the same applies for buying more than one assault rifle in a short time.

"There has been some (gun law) changes, but they're really not because of him," Palmer said. "There's nothing that Obama as president has passed as a (gun control) law or anything."

Palmer still gives the president a nod for increased sales from his home shop on Page Road.

"If I were to guess, I would say it's mainly the political aspect of it being an election year," he said. "But I've heard a few people talking about getting guns for the whole 2012 thing."

Palmer added he closes the gun cabinet when someone says they're trying to get ready for December, the month when some believe the world will end under the ancient Mayan calendar.

"I'm pretty particular about my customers," he said. "If they are just panic-buying, I won't sell."



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